Flight Attendant Turned Student Remembers

Sept. 11, 2001, is be a day that will be forever etched in our memory. As you know, this past Monday was the fifth anniversary of most horrific attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and the crash of United Airways Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pa. Here at the University of Tampa, there are many students that are from the New York City area. There were a lot conversations about where they were on that day, what they were thinking, and even friends that lost loved ones in the attacks. For UT senior Christin Campbell, Sept. 11, 2006, was not just another day to reflect on the lives lost and the many that were saved. For her it was a day to remember where she would have been or what she could have done. Before attending the University of Tampa, Christin Campbell worked for US Airways as a flight attendant. She began working for US Airways on Nov. 1, 2000 based with a crew out of Baltimore, Md, After that she was moved to Pittsburgh, Pa and later Charlotte, N.C. where she remained. As a flight attendant you can either work one, two, three, or four day trips. Christin Campbell was on a four day trip. She was scheduled to fly into NYC on Sept. 10 and then fly out on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. However, before flying from Pittsburgh to New York, she called in sick. Campbell had the company fly her from Pittsburgh back to her base in Charlotte. On the morning of Sept. 11 she was on her way to the doctor when she heard the news of the attacks. Being in a complete state of shock, she could not go to the doctor. “It was a real blow,” Christin commented about the attacks. “Being a flight attendant, it was a close knit family.” For many flight attendants, it gives them a sense of pride and respect. For three days after the attack she held on to her emotions. By the third day, they all poured out. She felt guilty about not being there with her crew, which was stuck in NYC. She also thought by being there she could have put all of the training to use and could have been a great help. She resumed flying after the airways were reopened. Only working for US Airways for one year, on Nov. 1, 2001, she was placed on an involuntary furlough and still is to this day. This means that within one month her employment could be re-established and she would have to report to her home base in Charlotte, N.C. Even during the furlough, not as an active employee, she still maintains her travel privileges, which includes flying for free. There was a recent recall, so there is a possibility that she could be reinstated at any time. After her furlough period began, she attended Northeast State Technical College, located in Blountville, Tenn., also her hometown. She graduated from there with an associate’s degree and transferred to the University of Tampa in August of 2005. A large reason for this was the furlough and her flight privileges. Due to the recall, she is trying to complete her Communications major by May 2007. Campbell is not sure if she will go back to flying after her furlough ends. She says it would depend on what they offer her. Many things have changed in the industry since 9/11. Different procedures would have to be learned, so this would require more training. Due to the heightened security pilots, flight attendants and airline employees are slowly losing their benefits. Although she did not know of anyone in the industry that was involved in any of the flights on 9/11, her parents did. Her stepfather has been a pilot for US Airways for over two decades, and her mother has been a flight attendant since 1998. It seems to be a family affair, but Campbell says they have never been on one flight all together. They both knew the head flight attendant on flight 93 that crashed in Shanksville, Pa. For Christin Campbell, the events of 9/11 are very close and the anniversary brings many feelings back to her. “Looking forward to what we can do is the best way to move on,” she said. She also explained that although security has been heightened, there is still a lot of room for improvement. As for the movies that are related to the events of 9/11, she strongly opposes watching them. “It could have been me on one of those planes,” she said.

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